why attend a marriage retreat

Why Attend A Marriage Retreat Intensive Weekend

No one argues with the need to head out of town for product training or team building for work. But why attend a marriage retreat for something that should just come naturally? After all, this is marriage, not a new software package.

Well, okay. But we could get a little cheeky-metaphorical here and suggest that attending a marriage retreat actually is about a software package. It’s about troubleshooting and updating the software that’s been running (or ruining) your relationship.

Statistics reveal the tendency of most couples to procrastinate when it comes to working on their relationships. Not only do most couples fail to take a preemptive approach to their relationship success, but they also wait an average of six years before sending up smoke signals for help after discontent sets in.

A lot can happen in that amount of time! It probably didn’t take you six years to fall in love. And it probably didn’t take that long to start forgetting why you did fall in love.

So if you’re wondering, “Why attend a marriage retreat intensive weekend?” take a hard look at where you started…and where you are. Then ask yourself (and one another) if your relationship is as satisfying and happy as you want it to be.

Perhaps you’ve been at this marriage thing for a while. You’re long past the first-child perfectionism, you’ve got the minivan dual-side doors on voice control, and you and your spouse run your enterprise like ships on calm water. Passing. In the night….

Why attend a marriage retreat? Exactly.

If you are marriage veterans, you’re probably entrenched in a routine that has been creating itself for years. So much so that you may not have noticed the encroachment of dissatisfaction. Or you’ve swept problems under the rug rather than talking them through because you don’t know if they can be resolved.

The resignation to being “successfully functional” in marriage is an unfortunate underestimation of all that a relationship can and should be. It happens as a result of focusing on “just getting through” the days and the obligations…and taking one another for granted.

Perhaps you are at the other end of the spectrum and need a rescue mission to save your marriage. Maybe you are frantically looking for help and don’t know where to start or fear it’s too late.

And why attend a marriage retreat intensive weekend when you can get a therapist to give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on your odds? Wouldn’t a going to a weekend retreat just put you into the veritable fishbowl and expose all your issues and flaws for a painfully long amount of time?

Far from being a paddle-promising trip to the principal’s office, a marriage retreat is an intensive refocus on the needs of your relationship. It provides and helps you put into practice tools for rebuilding lost connection and trust. And it gives you the time and space to actually do constructive work and start to embed principles with lasting potential while you are there.

Most importantly, a marriage retreat is a safe, structured, professionally-guided, positive experience.

Still asking, “Why attend a marriage retreat intensive weekend?” Consider the following, and afterward, see if you don’t ask, “Why not?” instead.

  • Time away.

    Okay, so it’s not parasailing in the Bahamas. But a marriage retreat is time away from the routine in which your relationship has been over-marinating.

    Unlike traditional therapy, which is usually one hour weekly, a marriage counseling retreat is a big chunk of time dedicated to your marriage. You’re not staring at a clock waiting for a therapist to say, “Our time is up. See you next week?” Instead, you continue to interact, to stay in the moment of vulnerability, revelation, and progress.

    By committing to a marriage retreat intensive weekend, you make the mutual statement that your marriage is a priority. You also grant yourselves the opportunity to remember why you first fell in love.

  • Learn important relationship skills.

    It’s no secret that communication is everything. Direct, indirect, verbal, non-verbal. In one way or another, couples are always communicating. And when a relationship starts getting a little tarnished (or flat-out rusty), communication is always the solution to bring things back to their previous luster.

    People don’t listen well, and they don’t feel heard. When a couple gets to talk about their issues in the presence of compassionate professionals — especially a male/female team — they are safely guided into healthy communication practices. And they learn the rules of communication that guarantee fairness and proper boundaries.

  • Equal representation.

    If you have been to traditional couples’ therapy, you may know the underlying tension from competing for the therapist’s favor. There’s two of you, one of them, and chances are, the therapist will take the side of one of you. Or so you think. Or maybe even hope.

    In a marriage retreat intensive weekend, you have the benefit of having a team of therapists. The energy is balanced, as are the numbers. And the added benefit is that the couple can learn from watching successful communication and resolution practices by the therapists.

  • Rekindle the spark.

    It’s complicated to rediscover what lit your fire way back when if you are coming home to the same routine with no sabbatical. The intensive work done during a marriage retreat is deep, honest, revealing, and ultimately re-invigorating to your relationship.
  • Keep a unified front.

  • It’s only natural that a marriage left to its own wits will start to take on two different directions. How else could spouses end up “going their separate ways”?

    Remembering that you came together for a reason is vital if you are going to keep your strength as a couple. A marriage counseling retreat will focus on refortifying that unity while nourishing the individuals who may feel weakened in the relationship.

So if you are still wondering, “Why attend a marriage retreat?” ask yourself if your relationship software is up-to-date. And if it’s behind a few generations, why not get away for a little product brush-up and team-building?

If you find yourself ready for an upgrade and now asking “why not attend a marriage retreat weekend ?”, feel free to reach out to schedule a complimentary call. Discover how we can help your marriage reach a new level of satisfaction through our (couple-to-couple) marriage counseling retreat.

Mary Ellen Goggin

Mary Ellen is a highly skilled and intuitive relationship guide. She brings over 35 years’ experience with individuals and businesses as a lawyer, mediator, personal coach and educator. She received her J.D. at University of New Hampshire Law School and a Master’s Degree at Harvard University. Mary Ellen co-authored Relationship Transformation: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too with Jerry Duberstein — and they were married by chapter 3. Mary Ellen brings a unique blend of problem-solving, practicality, and warmth to her work. She’s a highly analytic person, with geeky and monkish tendencies. She’s a daredevil skydiver, a voracious seeker of knowledge, and an indulgent grandmother. Her revolution: helping people become the unapologetic rulers of their inner + outer realms. Read more about the retreats